For Anne Gregory Summary by WB Yeats


For Anne Gregory is an 18-lined poem which is in the form of dialogues between the speaker and a lady by the name of Anne Gregory who was the grand-daughter of Lady Gregory, a very close friend of Yeats.

The poem is about importance of physical beauty for women in the world. In the poem, the poet suggests Anne that no person on earth loves a women for herself. Rather he falls in love with the yellow hair of ladies.

The girl becomes sad and says that she can dye her hair with other colours and then the people will be able to appreciate her inner beauty. However the poet says that no one but God loves the people for their inner beauty.

The tone of the poem seems to be sad because the girl expects to be loved for her inner beauty rather than her external appearance.


Part 1

The poet tells Anne that a young man who is thrown into despair i.e. fallen in love with great honey-coloured i.e. beautiful yellow hair that fall at her ear and look like wall around the fort does not love her for what she is but for her beautiful yellow hair.

The lines give an insight of a wise man who is advising a young one about the dark reality of the world and the craze for external appearance rather than internal beauty.

The poet tells the girl that no man would love her for her inner beauty or her pure soul. However she will be loved by everybody because of her beautiful yellow hair which fall from ears.

Part 2

Hearing this, the child (Anne Gregory), who is innocent and unaware of the world, replies that in order to make the young men love her for her inner self, she will get a hair-dye and set the colour of her hair as brown or black or even carrot (red).

These lines depict what kind of thinking young Anne has. She does not like to be loved for her external beauty. She rather desires to be loved for her inner self, her soul or what she really is.

Part 3

Hearing this, the poet tries to cheer Anne up as she becomes sad. The poet says that he heard an old religious man who has just declared that he has found a text (religious) that proves that only God loves a person for his/her inner self or the real self.

He is the one who loves would not look for the beautiful yellow hair to judge the person. Instead, He looks for the beauty of soul. The poem thus ends in hope and Anne probably feels comfortable after listening to the poet.

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